Apr 132015
Photo Credit:Justina Mintz/AMC

Photo Credit:Justina Mintz/AMC

Jiminy Christmas, you think you’re going to begin your life over and do it right. But what if you never get past the beginning again?

No one gets past the beginning. Episode 7.09 of Mad Men is called New Business for a reason. It’s all about what is and is not new, and what is and is not business.

Did I love this episode? I was confused by it. I felt like I was down the rabbit hole, in a swirling prison with Don, Diana, Megan, and Marie, where everyone repeats, regrets, and starts over. Lather, rinse, regret. I thought “I don’t know what I’m watching.”

But is that a problem? I expected Elizabeth Reaser to be Neve Campbell, a one-shot season opener that informs us of Don’s state of mind. Most reviewers last week took “Di” to mean “die,” and to be a symbol of Don’s musings on death and Rachel. All of that symbolism precludes her becoming a real person, with her own grief, her own death to recover from. Don is enraptured by Diana, or, more accurately, by his ability to rescue her. She is, even before her stepped-out series of revelations, so clearly in need of rescue. But in the end, Diana doesn’t want to be rescued, she doesn’t want to feel better, and so Don has nothing he can give her. Not even a guide book.

These lost men are trying to buy new lives, and these lost women are trying to figure out exactly how much they must prostitute themselves in order to have lives. Commerce, prostitution, new beginnings, regretting the past, punishing and being punished, it’s all swirled up here.

Do I want a clear theme? Kind of no. I kind of don’t want the package wrapped up with a bow on it. People will complain that New Business was confusing, but they also complain when an episode is too “on the nose.”

Harry tries to buy Megan. Megan tries to get a new agent, but doesn’t want to pay quite that high a price. Marie feels that Megan isn’t “charging” Don enough, she takes, on Megan’s behalf, what her daughter “deserves”. For her own part, Marie sells her body to Roger in exchange for paying off the movers. “Please take advantage of me”, she says to him, paying off the debt. Don is buying or paying off everyone; a book for Diana or a million dollar check for Megan, they amount to the same thing, he is left with nothing, both emotionally and physically (that apartment shot in the end was both sad and hilarious).

As Don is writing his million dollar check, he doesn’t know, but Megan does, that his apartment is completely empty. Is that funny or tragic? She took him for exactly the ride Roger warned about, saying exactly the things Roger said she’d say. Roger, Don, Pete, maybe Harry—our collection of bitter divorced men with no new beginning in sight.

It’s no coincidence here that the first time Diana had sex with Don she thought he’d paid for it. Approximately a zillion commenters (Basketcases and elsewhere) referred to her as a prostitute, but that doesn’t strike me as correct. Diana is a waitress who was given so much money ($100 in 1970 is a lot more than $100 today) that she felt she had to put out when asked for it. Technically that’s prostitution, but she didn’t hustle it, ask for it, or offer another tumble for another hundred.

And then there’s Pima Ryan. Here I feel like the episode did go off the rails a little. She is a fantastic character, enticingly played by Mimi Rogers, but there is something surreal about the way she wanders through the episode, shaking everything up in a subplot that doesn’t even intersect with the main characters. Peggy and Stan’s Cinzano vermouth campaign is off in its own little corner, and yet Pima is here as a symbol: Of commerce and art, of hustling and self-promotion and the fine line between prostitution and paying for what you want, especially for women. A great character, like I said, but her strange little sideways engagement with New Business feels off. Past experience tells me, though, that when I rewatch a season, episodes gain strength. This may be a watch-it-twice one.

Pima says all art is selling something, but in the end, Peggy recognizes that Pima is selling herself first and foremost. Pima’s little sales effort doesn’t work on Peggy, who is unimpressed and who actually isn’t selling herself. “It’s just my job,” Peggy says, and in the end, that’s true, and that’s why she’s untouched by the rest of the shenanigans. Megan is expected to sell herself to act, and Marie sells herself just to get a moving truck, while Pima’s sales routine seems largely designed to keep people in her thrall. She’s doing it for art. The difference for Pima is, she’s in control, while all the other women in this episode are clearly out of control. They know they’re paying with their bodies, but only Pima seems like the one managing the negotiation. And Peggy, who is in charge without leveraging her female body, has no use for her.

They want to punish you. And then you get mad and you want to punish them, but you know it’s your fault.

Punishment. Failure. Megan’s evil sister calls Megan a failure. Don certainly feels like a failure as he paves the path of his second divorce with checks. Pete cheated his way out of marriage to Trudy, and now worries that his dates will turn out to be floozies.

None of the business is “new,” no matter how new it is. Everyone is trying for something new, but they keep going back to where they came from, and failing again. Lather, rinse, regret.

The most important bit, I think, is that we opened with Don and his boys. He sees Betty and Henry, happy together, with Bobby and Gene, and it is a floodgate of regret, written across Jon Hamm’s expressive face. Everything that follows in New Business is a part of that flood. Pete’s bitterness, Marie’s impotent theft, Megan’s mercurial mood swings, even Harry’s pathetic pass, it all comes from an inability to be truly new, an attempt to rewrite the past, all the while knowing you will fail.

Let’s see what the bullets have to offer:

  • Mitchell Rosen got married to a homely girl. The line is actually, Mitchell’s CO got married to a homely girl. Basketcase Old Fashioned cleverly observed “Guess we are to be treated to a cameo appearance by one of Don’s former mistresses each week” following Maggie Siff and Linda Cardinelli. I am hereby taking bets for next week.
  • Don persists in being handier in the kitchen than Betty.
  • Don also has a little bit of a sideburn thing going on—he’s definitely not Roger, but he’s not still living in the ’50s either.
  • Caroline needs Shirley’s help. Is this foreshadowing of something bad happening to Caroline?
  • Someone is going to come up with a real-life photographer upon whom Pima is based before I even fall asleep tonight. I guess I’ll find it in comments in the morning.
  • At the same time as everyone is struggling for a new beginning, Don says twice in this episode that it’s “almost over.” Which is more or less what AMC says about Mad Men every time we go to commercial.
  • I kind of want to give Pete quote of the week for the two already cited here—I mean, for Jiminy Christmas alone!–but instead, I’ll give it to Stan for “I apologize that the models have so many teeth. I know you’re not used to that”–that is some sick burn!

  198 Responses to “Mad Men Recap: New Business–All art is selling something”

  1. best part of the episode: Betty is going back to school. To be a PSYCOLOGIST. Well t least a female character is going back to school, something I had hoped Joan would do once upon a time.
    I thought Dr Rosen said Mitchell’s CO got married? Maybe I heard it wrong.

    • Yes, it was Mitchell’s CO that got married.

    • I need to watch it again, but if it is “Mitchell’s CO” that got married I think it is odd that the Rosen’s would be invited. I think it is strange. If I remember, Mitchell is in the National Guard, so why would his Commanding Officer invite recruits parents to a wedding? Didn’t they look like they were coming home from a wedding? The whole scene was a strange way of getting them all in the elevator at the same time.

    • Everyone heard it right but me. I thought he said “Mitch and Celia” not “Mitch’s CO.”

    • I found it super ironic that Betty of all people is getting a masters in Psych. Although from what I understand many therapists are in and in need of therapy themselves. I wonder if this will give her insight to get better or if she will be better at gaining insights into other people than into herself. She, along with Don, is one of the most repressed psycholoically tone-deaf characters on the show. Fascinating.

      • Betty has been saying for years that she is not a stupid person. She has pointed out on more than one occassion that she went to Bryn Mawr, majored in anthropology (?), speaks Italian, etc. Koodos to her for going back to school and great shout out to Fairfield University! I hope we see her by the end of the series in a more positive place. I know people dislike her, but I think she was a character of her time: a suppressed, angry female who was told by her mother to be pretty and keep her appearances up so she could find and keep a husband but expect nothing more from life. I especially like that she plans to get a Master in Psychology which is ironic given her poor experience with that psychologist or psychiatrist from season one.

        • Oh she’s a very smart well-educated woman. Maybe by getting the MA in psych she is starting to show some self-awareness or subconscious self-awareness but I’m not totally sold. A semi-decent marriage does not undue all of that repression and damage. She’s still a deeply unhappy woman

          • Agree. Yes. Could not agree more.

            Betty is primarily interested in herself. She would not be the first woman I know to begin an advanced degree in psychology purely because she wants to know herself better.

            It also helps — now, as much as in 1970 — to have a wealthy husband who can fund those advanced studies. Henry Francis has never needed to understand Betty’s dreams; he supports them. He loves her.

            Betty Draper Francis is a ridiculously lucky woman, but again: she’s hardly the first who can say this.

            • That scene in the kitchen w Bobby shocked me. I thought itmwas a flashback…Betty with the 50s dress, the smallish kitchen. Then Henry comes around.

              No one else?

            • @Heas of Accounts

              Yes! I thought it was a dream! I never imagined them getting to that point of casual having Don making milkshakes in their kitchen!

              Since the kitchen was also the scene of Betty’s death dream, at first I didn’t know if it was Betty or Dons dream!

  2. Yet unlike Rachel, Sylvia is very much alive (in terms of your Don’s mistresses bet). Wouldn’t be shocked if we see Sylvia again by season’s end. Arnold’s drunken, boorish behavior could be a one-off. But it could also signal trouble on the home front.

    That elevator scene could have been random. But it might also prove to be a bit of foreshadowing.

    • It reminded me of Sally’s statement: I’d have to ride in the elevator with that woman and smell her hairspray and want to puke!

  3. Hmm, so Megan goes from “You don’t owe me anything” in “Waterloo” to “You ruined my life!” in this episode to squeeze $1 million out of Don? I wonder if he really believed that crap she spewed or just figured it was worth that amount to make her go away.
    I was never really among the people who disliked her, but that scene (and the one after with her sister) may have tilted me to that side.

    • Im still confused by it…Honestly, I don’t see how Don “ruined her life”. She wanted CA and her “career”, I cant believe he wrote her a check for a million dollars…she would have gone away for less. Don, magnanimous in the moment, must have felt like the worlds biggest schmuck when he saw she/Marie fleeced him out of the contents of his home too.

      Nothing about the introduction of Diana into the story lines rings true to me. Never got the alley scene, not as passion or payback. I don’t believe for a second that she would have given up the continued comfort of Don and his PH to wallow by herself in seedy squalor. Her back story seemed pat to me and I doubt it’s true anyway…

      What a treat to see Sylvia!

      • She wanted LA because Don offered it. He came home, wanting to run away, telling her that he wanted start a branch of the company in LA. She quit her job and was ready to move when he decided NOT to go and let Ted go instead. She had already burned her bridges in NYC and had no choice but to move, and is having a hard time of making it in LA. Yeah, I’d say he had a hand in it.

        • Megan maybe going through a bit of the Kubler-Ross 5 stages of denial:

          Denial – You don’t owe me anything
          Anger – Ruin my life
          Bargaining – Divorce proceedings, then an unexpected nice fat cheque

          Depression and Acceptance – future episodes

        • I’d agree, but he called off moving to California to do Ted a solid, not for selfish reasons (although it didn’t seem to do Ted much good ultimately). Plus she might not have been able to quit her job at SCDP to try acting again if she hadn’t been married to Don, and her career was going nowhere until he pulled strings to get her the spot in that shoe commercial.

          So I’m not sure she’s worse off professionally or economically (even before the $1 million ransom) because of him.

        • Don’t forget that for months, Don didn’t move to be with Megan but instead stayed in New York and lied to her about staying there for a job (that he no longer had). So Megan killed her career for Don’s sake, and then found out that he really didn’t want to be with her and lied to stay away. I’d think if you were in the irrational I Hate Megan club, just those little points would push you back towards seeing her in a better light. She didn’t expect that million dollar cheque and she’d never have been able to ask for it in a divorce court in 1970 (she’d have received much, much less) but at least Don is taking some responsibility for his lies. He’s also very conscious of the fact that Megan’s career killing move was his fault.

          Megan’s anger is more than legitimate.

      • I can see how Megan can go from “you don’t owe me anything” and “I don’t want anything of yours” after seeing her mother and sister. Both of them had a ton of baggage Megan wouldn’t have been thinking about if they hadn’t shown up to 1)make a happy vacation out of her ending her marriage, and 2) decide to call her a failure, repeatedly, and accuse her of the bad decision to marry Don because, as Marie says, “that man has ruined my family”. There’s a lot of unnecessary drama there, as Megan pointed out. Like the title says, Megan came all the way from California and thought she’d see her mother and sister to help her “start over” but they fell into their old routines with her. And Harry was as predictable as she should have known he would be. So all attempts to start over, for Megan, go nowhere, despte her best efforts to make that “new start” take place.

        • Yeah, Megan was upset with her mother, her sister, Harry and herself, but she took it out on Don — just as Roger said she would.

    • People say all kinds of things when they are trying to break up gently, but in hindsight, they get very bitter!

      • I wondered if Don would be the one to become resentful. Sometimes when a relationship ends you feel so defeated that you feel like you need to take on the toll of everything. Its only later that you resent that you gave up too much in the end. I think Don gave Meghan the chance to be an actress. She couldn’t have afforded it otherwise. I am not sure how he ruined her chances at acting success.

    • I think MW has been trying to give Megan nuance that she can be both a slightly spoiled immature woman but still have been done wrong in some ways. Her behavior in this episode reminds me of the way sometimes in life, with teenagers or coworkers or whatever, they resent the fact that they are dependent but take the money anyway, which makes them even more miserable.

  4. I feel dumb, but I don’t get the “models with teeth” joke.

    • Yeah. I don’t get it either. Help, anyone?

    • pima’s models don’t smile

    • The other guy in the office mentions that Pima has never done an ad before. Maybe she’s photojournalist, used to taking pictures of “real people” a la Dorothea Lange? But she seems a bit hi-toned for that, more along the lines of Diane Arbus or Annie Leibovitz.

      • I was thinking along the same lines – that she took pictures of down and out people whose dental health was lacking. But I think even Stan would not joke about that as Stan has always craved for his art to exude gravitas.

  5. Since Peggy put her hand on Don’s in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, the women of MM have been selling themselves (short) for something.
    That Peggy is the one in this ep, who stands tall, I get the feeling she will be knocked back a peg (sorry), or two by next week.
    What did she say in Blowing Smoke?
    “Every time something good happens, something bad has to happen”.
    Mmm-hmm. Things don’t change.

  6. The feeling of being down the rabbit hole sort of connects with me. Somehow, it makes me think of the movie Beetlejuice. In the movie, the Maitlands (played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) have to negotiate a purgatory way beyond their capacity to comprehend.

    What they get is a “guidebook”: a “Guide for the Recently Deceased.” What Don gives Di (whose name is a very on-the-nose reference to her immersion in death) a Guidebook. It is to New York City, but it might as well be to the Maitland’s incomprehensible purgatory–a place where they cannot leave their own attic without seeing how the new tenets have undone the order of their lives.

    • I meant tenants, but tenets is actually kind of a fun typo in this context.

      And, by the way, as long as I am on the subject, this episode felt like a form of purgatory.

      I mean, no one was happy; everyone was angry or struggling or hustling/compromising. The only happiness I saw was in Don’s face when he shows up at SC&P the day after his first night with Diana. (My wife pointed out to me that it was the first time she saw Don smiling in several episodes. It was brief, but it was there.)

      Diana, by the way, was, in Roman mythology, the goddess of the hunt AND the goddess of childbirth, as well as representing the Moon. Diana, here is a “broken” Diana, having lost her daughter and run away from motherhood.

      • My reaction to the guide book was, “Don is the last person who should be giving anyone a guide book to anything. Let him get himself un-lost before he starts trying to guide anyone else!”

        • Yep agree – blind leading he blind!

        • I understand why people say this, but I don’t think being insightful and helpful to other people and being personally totally lost in life is in such great conflict. Some people cannot see themselves at all, yet they’re profound and deeply connected to the universe. Not that Don qualifies as one of these people, but seeing the world and seeing yourself are two very different skill sets.

      • Dante’s Inferno….Sylvia.

    • Back in season 5(?) there’s a scene with Don and Megan in the elevator at scd&p shot from behind and I remarked then it reminded me very much of the cover of the guidebook in Beetlejuice!

      That was the morning after Megan decided to quit and try acting, iirc…


      There have been a few other times when I thought Beetlejuice was being referenced visually. 🙂

  7. Why would you give Megan the perfect send off in S7E5, and then turn her into a resentful bitch in this episode? Why bring back Marie and introduce a sister, when we don’t care about any of them?
    I would much rather have seen Joan – and it seems like forever since we’ve seen her mom or her son.

    • I think that is a good question, but I think the answer is easier to see if a person has been through a divorce. The end of commitment is a dialogic ending. It is a statement to one another that the intertwined story of the marriage has come to an end. Those words may be difficult to speak and to own, but it is, unfortunately, not the last moment.

      The last moment, the divorce, in other words, is all about money and property, about who deserves what, and how much, along with the stressful demands of furniture movers. It is about movement. It is about bringing cash and checks.

      And money is hard to separate from emotion. For many people, the connection is intense. It is about guilt and shame and anger–about fighting over alimony or, on the other hand, writing a check for a million dollars to make the guilt and shame go away.

      It’s all saturated with memories and abandoned dreams. I do not for a second fault Megan her anger in this episode. And I understand her relative calm at the end.

      • When I saw Don give Megan the check, it reminded me of the episode where Peggy was looking for validation and appreciation Don said “That’s what the money was for”. What did the money represent here? Was Don buying his freedom so he may pursue Di? Was it an apology for not going to Cali?

      • I do. I did like her, but she married a man she barely knew, and she did bamboozle him just a tad with that “I want to do what you and Miss Olsen do” bullshit. She was unexpectedly great at the job she allegedly wanted, yet unfulfilled, she wanted to spread her wings in a notoriously difficult field she had already sucked at. She would not have even had the opportunity to fail at acting if it were not for Don’s (admittedly unenthusiastic) support. And dont forget, she also emotionally blackmailed him into her first big gig, the shoe ad. Megan has known for quite some time that Don is no price charming, that he’s damaged, depressive, alcoholic and not super forthcoming, but she never found out or even suspected the thing with Sylvia and we have no clue if she herself had been faithful. (I suspect not) He did do her dirty on the move, yes. But he bought her a house in the canyon, and filled it with stuff, visited frequently, and remained her primary support. “You don’t owe me anything.” Four months later “I gave up EVERYTHING for you.” ? And what would that be, boo-boo? Now that she graciously accepted the ki$$off, who will she blame for her future unhappiness? Megan seems to have grown down, rather than up. She will go on to be someone else’s unhappy wife, wealthy and resentful and blaming everyone else but herself.

        • kturk, YES!

        • I agree. She will think that Don ruined her acting career forever when she was the one that gave up after one failed audition then got him to get her the shoe commercial…gave up her soap job which as Harry, in a rare case of accuracy, was a stupid thing to do. I hadn’t even thought about how that would have affected her in auditions, why would anyone even want to meet with someone who threw away a regular role.

          • Harry is very accurate in matters of business and the industry – he had foresight about the role of TV for the firm. He just has no talent for understanding people and is very straightforward – even in his discussion with Megan, instead of assisting her and then expecting something in return he just jumped right into this “give me this and I’ll do that for you”

            • How dumb apparently he has forgotten her reaction to the Zou Bisou incident in the break room where she caught him saying what he’d like to do with her.

    • The introduction of the Calvet women in this episode was, for me, symbolic of “the furies,” who were were depicted throughout Western mythology as feminine and, often, three in number. There is, of course, Megan, and her pain and resentments over Don’s failure to live up to what she had hoped would be his new life after all of the lies and infidelities with Betty (whose own fury may never die). There is the furious naive, Catholic sister who foolishly suggests that an annulment might actually avoid the “failure” of divorce! And there is the vengeance on display by Megan’s mother, whose own insufferable life is projected onto Megan’s split from Don. Megan was right, by the way: Marie was miserable for some time. In the one episode where we saw her father on display (the one in which Marie and Roger hooked up at the banquet), he was presented as a pompous academic lecturing everyone about capitalism, materialism, and hypocrisy.

      • And Megan’s father also had a way with his students–remember Marie did find out that he was having a little affair with (at least) one of them. It’s another reason she was so miserable with him, and so interested in Roger, who happened to be handy.

      • Marie said that Don ruined her family. I am not sure what she is referring to. Is it simply the divorce of megan and Don that ruined the family?

        • I didn’t understand that line, either. Ruined their family? How?

          • They are catholic. At that time it was cause for excommunication and still a big deal! So family shame!

        • I thought the irony of Marie’s comment was rich given the fact that Don and Megan were pretty darned happy until her father criticized her marriage and career choices. It was after her parents meddling that Megan decided to leave the firm and pursue an acting career, the beginning of the end for Don and Megan. They should have kept their noses out of their marriage.

          • Exactly. Also, Marie appears to be completely ingnorant of the fact that it was Megan that wanted the divorce, not Don. Either that, or she just doesn’t care.

    • I’ve been through a divorce- and I didn’t care to see this. I bet if Megan were getting any bites in her career, she would not have been interested in taking Don for a ride here. The conversation last half season combined with his statement about her being his ex wife was enough to put a cap on that relationship for me.

      • I agree. Megan is angry and lashing out, She is blaming Don for her lack of career. She wants Don to pay for her perceived injustices.

        • I can’t process the mental gymnastics that result in her lack of roles being Don’s fault. Can anyone explain this to me?

      • At the risk of sounding like a rudimentary punk, I will ask this: How can anyone be so hopeful as to ever get married?
        The UNBELIEVABLE patience required for it to be a success is beyond superhuman.
        Seriously, unless you can CGI a perfect version of yourself in your chosen partner, how could it ever work?
        Count me forever out.
        A solitary figure for singleness.
        HAPPILY so.

  8. I posted these thoughts on the Open Thread, but they fit here too.

    There was a lot tonight about people getting, what other people thought, they deserved. Don and the check. Marie and the furniture. Even Roger and Pete had some cryptic thoughts on the topic, via bitter comments about their divorce settlements, with Jane and Trudy respectively. Harry seemed to be piling on too – or maybe he was priming Don with his version of lunch with Megan and just covering his butt – not that it matters to Don, at this point. Even Henry alluded briefly to what he deserves. He didn’t want a sip from a milkshake that Don had made for the boys. By God, he’d make a milkshake of his own!

    As for the episode title, I recall a meeting in the conference room, a season or two (or perhaps three) ago. The ditzy secretary, Meredith, was being a stickler about old business and news business, when Roger attempts to chime in about an item concerning an account, in the “good news” category.

    This episode has lots of old business, a little new business and absolutely no good news. You’d think that Megan being handed a million dollar check would be seen as hot diggity damned good news, but she doesn’t consider it so, though she does pocket the check.

  9. Megan has become what Joan assumed she’d be: Jane #2. She’s a professional shopper and money spender, though Jane did everyone the courtesy of not talking like she had another game. The comfy life has made her complacent, which her father saw coming. Megan is a poseur, and I’m not to proud to admit she had me fooled. She wants things when they come easy, and intuitively, she’s one of those people who can slide into many things in their fundamental stages. Pretentious. Once they’re work, she’s done with them. I didn’t fully grasp her dishonesty until this episode. Everything about her is smoke and mirrors. If the old adage about actors having no self has any truth to it, Megan is a good example. Coming from a volatile home does that to some people.

    • *and I’m not too proud to admit she had me fooled.

    • couldnt agree more! have alwyas thought meghan was an opportunist…remember reading here that mw said she n don were very much alike or something of that idea, and i always thought it was that they both connected on seizing opportunites for own gain n for being posers

    • It feels strange to say this, as I have been one of the most devoted members of the I hate the Megan character fan club; but, I can’t help thinking that her actions in this episode are “setting us up” for later developments.

      • Agree OldFashioned see above comment:

        Megan maybe going through a bit of the Kubler-Ross 5 stages of denial:

        Denial – You don’t owe me anything
        Anger – Ruin my life
        Bargaining – Divorce proceedings, then an unexpected nice fat cheque

        Depression and Acceptance – future episodes

        • For me, it was Megan’s last look at the living room she shared with Don before she left for lunch with Harry. She would miss him, she would miss their life, but she was saying goodbye.

          Megan is not a gold digger. If she were, she would have gone upstairs with Harry. She wants to be herself again: Megan Calvet, not Mrs. Draper. And unlike the Jane Siegel Sterling that Roger described in Don’s office, Megan seems sad, but not resentful.

          Also, this may be an unrelated matter … but has anybody thought about how Megan (or anyone, for that matter) would go about cashing a million-dollar check?

          • I think the only difference with a check of that amount is they call the other bank for sufficient funds before they deposit and credit it to your account.

            Megan seemed resentful to me…until he wrote the check. She suddenly got reasonable after she looked at the amount.

            • I suspect a 7-figure, hand-written check would trigger more than a sufficient-funds inquiry – due diligence would demand more – a phone call to Don, ask that he show up in person, show driver’s license.

              I further suspect that the combination of wealth, impulsiveness, and naivety (as Betty said/implied, “Don doesn’t know what to do with money”) is pretty unusual.

              That check is so Draperish – fix things with money.

          • i don’t think that megan is a gold-digger; i think she’s opportunistic, entitled, and full of herself…she takes what she can get when it best suits her (steals friends audition, bday performance, etc.)…does she love don? sure, but she loves herself so much more. as for harry, i don’t think that being a gold-digger would necessarily translate to being willing to trade sex…gold-digger would be more in line with seizing opportunities for financial gain…megan does like to seize opportunities to better her place in the world…marie taught her that. 🙂

            • Megan is like the conversation between Peggy and Pima re:Stan. Pima says he’s insecure. Peggy says but he has a huge ego!

              They can exist in the same person. And Megan has always been both: very insecure and ego-centric.

            • I wanted to add, she also “has all this:” beauty and sex appeal but she can’t get what she really wants with it: a solid acting career. Or love that she can trust. She can’t trade it reliably. It’s currency, but doesn’t get what she desires.

          • Megan didn’t want to sleep with Harry, period. She may not be a gold digger but, as has been said, she wants things to come easily to her. (Look how fast Don proposed.)

        • Actually, my thought was: who keeps a million dollars in a checking account?

          • Remember, Don doesn’t know about money.

          • You don’t.
            You spread it out over a bunch of different accounts, and some for Switzerland.
            You need to hide that shit from your spouse when it’s time for the divorce.

          • The fact is, Don has money. Lots and lots and lots of it, especially since the buy out of his firm. He can write a cheque for any amount and as anyone who has worked in banking will tell you, his bank will jump through the hoops they have to jump through to honour it when it comes from such a wealthy client.

            People at that time did do business “in the millions”. Greater amounts of money have been passed and forth regularly in that industry so if Don decided to write a cheque for an amount he’s got, it would simply be a matter for Megan to deposit the cheque in her bank account to gain access to it.

  10. Contrast this episode ” Everything must have a price ” tagged to what are essentially bad things, with two episodes ago where ” The best things in life are free ‘

  11. i may be off, but i kept thinking that marie took the furniture for herself, as she was to start her own new beginning…saw an opportuniity n took it….

    • mega learned from marie how to see an opportunity and take it…now marie will be able to sert up new life in grand style, and it was all done on someone else’s dollar…

    • This is what I thought, that Marie was setting herself up. Was the line tongue-in-cheek that she ran away with a man (Rodger)?

  12. Don using money to solve a particular problem, Harry being an odious troll, and the work spouses (Peggy and Stan) get competitive. My recap:


    Follow me on Twitter – @scarylawyerguy

  13. I didn’t see all of last nites episode. But I get the feeling that Diana has a secret history that she abandoned (like our main character). And that leads don to have a connection with her that he hasn’t had with anyone else. Which leads to him and her disappearing together and starting a new life. Just like both have done before.

    • She abandoned her daughter like Don abandoned his brother Adam. I can see how Don feels compassion for her.

      • And I thought the shabby apartment or hotel scene was a reverse: Don is abandoned by her (he abandoned Adam) her life goes only backwards. Don wanted only to go forward…

      • True but the big difference being, though Don abandoned Adam, Adam wasn’t his child so he wasn’t his responsibility. In a normal life they of course would have stayed in touch and he would have been in an out of his life, but leaving your child and leaving your baby half-brother aren’t quite the same or as cold or shocking. Of course she had “good” reason by being deeply in grief but she totally skipped out on something was her primary responsbility, and though it sounds/is a sexist double standard, especially as a mother it looks really bad.

  14. Can an episode be confusing and ‘too on the nose’ simultaneously? I didn’t know what I was watching, either, but what I did get was flat and obvious. I won’t get into the whole Diana plot, because it utterly baffles me. But the Calvet women … We know Marie is a bitch, but she was always a stylish and subtle one. This week’s Marie was shrill and stupid and ham-handed in her remarks and actions. Telling Roger “take advantage of me?” WTF? And Harry’s idiotic pass at Megan (one thing you can always rely on is Harry being an idiot) seemed wholly contrived to put Megan into a foul mood so she could throw all her anger about her failing career onto Don, when before then she wanted nothing from him. Even the brief but welcome appearance of the Rosens felt clumsy and contrived, like fan service for those who wondered what became of them. The Pima plot felt shoved in for no discoverable reason as well.

    For a show we prize for it’s watchworks structure and subtlety, this was a terrible disappointment.

    • I actually felt there was an attempt to keep half of this episode somewhat more lighthearted and comedic – Meghan’s relationship with her family seemed to be played as overdramatics, Pete’s golf outing outfit and drive talk, the doctor’s obvious amusement about another elevator ‘walk of shame’ for one of Don’s girls…

  15. I will be interesting in Tom and Lorenzo’s breakdown of fashion from this episode. I found the costuming very intriguing. One thing that jumped out at me was the way Megan was dressed for her meeting with Harry. First, she was wearing the same dress she wore when she picked Don up at the airport on his first visit to California. Second, I thought she was looking a little 1968. In 1970 fashion was taking a huge step towards the whole 70’s disco wasteland of fashion and even a year before was looking dated. Even her hair was dated. And why would she dress like that to meet with Harry anyway. She didn’t need to impress him in any way, they have known each other for years, and most importantly, she hates him.

    Also, Don was looking like he was getting ready to leave the 60’s behind, even if he has to take himself with him.

    Betty looked great.

    • I noticed her outfit, too! I thought “Poor Megan…time has really passed her by quickly. She must be sitting up there in her house in the hills just waiting for the phone to ring.” Remember last season, when Don had to go out there because her agent said she was acting desperate? She should just take his $1M and go start a nice real estate business for herself.

      • Exactly!

        In the “even a broken clock is right twice a day” department, Harry was right when he told Don that Megan should never have quit the Soap she was on in N.Y.

        • That was Matt Weiner skewering Don for his impulsive run-away reflex in Ep 613 – which had real consequences for Megan’s acting career. Acting is such a crapshoot – so many forks in the road lead to obscurity.

        • Yes, and he was so right in saying it. Because of that, Don could see he actually did ruin Megan’s flourishing acting career in New York by making her quit to move west with him. Without contacts, or experience, or even an agent ready to look after her in California, it’s not surprising Megan had some difficulty getting work after her move–and her insecurities ramped up when Don didn’t move to join her there because of “work”–at a job it turns out he never even had!

      • Maybe she figured it was Harry so why not wear an older outfit or maybe she wore an NY outfit she had rediscoverd and liked. Plus I believe the costume designer pointed out that most people don’t throw out all of their clothes every year and gets a total fashion overhaul for every season so they are still going to wear some older pieces from time to time. Though a glamorous lady like Megan might be more likely to do that. And unless you are a super fashionista do you ever really look at someone today and thing “Wow they are so 2013”. Or maybe the fashion split was so stark then that it would have been noticable? I was -3 then so I can’t speak from working memory. 🙂

        • I think in this case, with Megan, she was trying to be at her best. Sadly her best to her, was how she looks in that dress and in that way. And that time has passed.

          In Megan’s case I don’t think it’s the same as when characters keep and where clothes from the past. She was dressing to impress. And she has the money, even before Dons million dollar check to be wearing the absolute latest fashion.

          No I think this is the look where she felt at her best, whether in Ziu Bisou black or 1968 LA baby blue. So it added sadness, and some added reason to her behavior later with Don. She is getting old in actress years. 🙁

    • Peggy is getting more and more glamorous. Her make up is quite different, to me, from last season and there was a great shot of her on one side of the screen, backed by black and another when Pima was saying she wanted to photograph her.

      Reluctantly, I noticed that Peggy’s green/white dress had white collar and cuffs that matched Diana’s. I’m not rooting for a Peggy/Don relationship but this looked like another link.

      • This was the first episode that Peggy has looked good in for the entire time, she had at least 3 different outfits.

    • …wandering around her home in the hills, dressed in an old “costume-y” frock….”I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille.”

    • Betty was actually glowing. This might be the most contented we have ever seen her.

      I won’t say “happiest,” though. Betty Draper Francis does not do “happy.” Pride she can do, and she wrote the book on satisfaction, but she isn’t a happy person.

      “Contented” is close enough.

      • Agreed. No wonder that one of the clips they showed before the episode began was Betty’s moment of clarity while she was in bed with Don in The Better Half.

      • I will always be in the Betty camp. I am re watching MM from the beginning…she was crazy about Don…”who’s in there?” She was a good wife and she got the crappy end of the stick. Remember when she describes going through her day keeping her hands busy until she could be with him at night? And what does he do? He is getting busy with someone else. Don did his part in creating Betty. And I know she was bad with the kids and kind of a brat and somewhat immature and mean to her friends but in the beginning, she was crazy about him and really wanted it to work. When she tried to get a job, she was thwarted. When she tried to get help, she found out her therapist was spying on her for Don. When she tried again with Don, she found out about Bobbie Barrett. I am happy for Betty. Ps. I think she will always be crazy about Don.

    • I think it’s part of what a Megan said to Don was how she feels about herself:




      The way she spat out aging is what made me feel that. She is way past her due date for being an actress sadly. Or being the next big thing.

  16. I wish there was an edit function to correct typos.

  17. I found myself confused by Megan’s anger, especially her final excoriation in the lawyer’s office. How did Don wrong her so badly? One minute he’s supporting her in Los Angeles, the next minute she’s saying good bye over the phone. Now she hates him. The only thing that made sense was the o’l domestic transference act — her combined rage at Harry and her mother was dumped on to Don’s lap.

    The million-dollar check made no sense unless (*choke*) Don is just clearing the decks before his leap into the unknown.

    I do like the suggestion up top that Don likes the idea of rescuing Diane. When he first spotted her, he was in a tux. He looked across the vails of karma and saw a kindred spirit from his tobacco-road past. He wanted to restore that connection. And he wanted to save her.

    Pima would have made an interesting character introduction a season or two back. She could have caused all kinds of interesting havoc. But with the whole game winding down now, there can’t be much more for her to do. (Unless, of course, there is a spin-off, in which case her meddlesome intellectualized trampiness would spice up any dish.) Still, her addition to the plotlnes last night were useful. When Peggy airily reveals how Pima tried the same move on her and that it didn’t work with her, Stan is left, as usual, with the whole omelette running off his face. The guy never learns.

    Maybe that should be the theme for the Mad Men: Whatever we learn, we learn very slowly.

    • I see Megan as being unable to move forward in her career and looking for someone to blame. She’s angry about this, and Don is a convenient object for her ire.

      In between being a one-dimensional barking-dog skeeve to Megan at lunch, Harry had some decent advice for her: she’s aiming too low. Unless she throws herself into the things she really wants — going for big parts, or as we say in California, putting herself out there — no one will see her. Megan wants to act, and her single greatest tool is her beauty. If she wants to succeed, she has to use it.

      Throwing herself at Don was a smashing success. She can do that again; this time, it might stick.

      • Remember Duck-as-headhunter telling Pete that he’d been in Pete’s shoes -having “meetings” where you could smell (Duck’s) desparation in the room?

        Megan’s now-fired-agent said pretty much the same thing to Don long-distance about her tracking down the director at lunch with Rod Serling (“we don’t want her to have that anecdote”). Megan’s very hair-trigger-denfensive retort to Don when he “talked to her” bespoke a lot of desparation.

      • I agree completely that Megan uses Don as a scapegoat. Yes. Yes. Megan mentions on the phone that Don had 1 million when she met him….I don’t think a million breaks Don. When I watched that scene I felt that Don’s giving Megan the money was sincere…he said she was right after all..he is trying to move on and do right by her.

  18. On the AMC Mad Men site, Matthew Weiner explains that Don and Diana are attracted to each other because they are equally wounded people.

    Don is full of regret (that scene in the Francis’ kitchen when he looks at his sons, Betty & Henry together) for the life and family he has thrown away. Don is alone and searching, and he wants to rescue Diana. , Unlike Don, Diana doesn’t move forward. When Don learns that she had a second daughter that she abandoned and left with her husband in Racine, WI, Don can’t tolerate her leaving her child and he walks out the door. When he returns to his apartment and his furniture is gone, he realizes that he has lost everything.

    • He still has a job, doesn’t he? Even if he no longer has the bonus from the McCann-Erickson purchase…

      That check bothers me. $500,000 would have effectively shut Megan up every bit as much as a full million did; but she alluded to his millionaire-hood with some venom, so that’s the amount he fixates on. If Suze Orman were watching, she’d likely have pitched a fit. 😉 Seriously, though… We already know money is a sore topic for Don; but is it possible he’s not very good at math, either?

      • guess betty was right: he doesn’t “understand money.” 🙂

        • I tend to think we overthink a lot of Don’s motions. He doesn’t understand money, and he doesn’t value it, either. We don’t know how much Don actually has, but to him, those are just numbers on paper. $500K, $1M, $10K. He doesn’t differentiate. It’s one of the reasons Peggy was never successful in getting a raise from him. She could have asked for $2K more per year or $10 more per week. To him, it’s all the same. The only thing that saves a guy like Don from being flat broke is that he has no expensive hobbies or habits. He even drinks cheap whiskey. He could afford to be drinking single malt scotch (like Lane received for his birthday from his father), but he doesn’t. Don has the sensibilities of a farmer. Yet, I think he loosely senses how other people see money, which is why he can throw out a $1M to Megan. Doesn’t understand the number, but it sounds good.

          • If Megan’s smart, she gets some legal and accounting advice (and not necessarily from her divorce lawyer, whose loyalties may be divided once he sees how fat the hog is).

            She certanly does not show the check to any of “the furies” nor to her Daddy who probably understands money less than Don does.

          • Ever since Don stuffed that check in Midge’s blouse, it was vividly clear that Don does not give a rat’s ass about money.

            Love that about him.

      • He’s certainly not thinking about how Megan will be able to cash it.

        • As Don’s first Significant Other once said, “Don, what good will a check do me?”

        • She can deposit it in her bank account.

          • If Don wrote her a certified check, she could have it clear the next business day.
            Checks over 50k that are not ceetified are flagged.
            3 business days.

            • Nope, she would just put the cheque in her account. When her bank sent it through to be cleared, the funds would be there and the money would be available to Megan with no restrictions. No big deal.

    • With Don returning to a living room without furniture, it reminded me of his 40th birthday party, in that the party’s over now. The dress Megan wore to meet Harry is a blue version of the one she wore during her song. And the episode ended with another French song, “C’est Si Bon,” perhaps emphasizes the connection.

      • Now that I think of it, it also reminds me of Season 1 when he came home to an empty house after Berry and the kids went to her Dad’s for Thanksgiving without him (at his prompting I believe).

        • Betty. Hee-hee. Chuck Berry stole the kids and went to Grandpa Gene’s. HAAAAAA :-p

        • Great catch! The beginning of the episode w/the Francis kitchen could be like the alternate ending when Don envisioned his family waiting for him.

          The empty living room also reminded me of the end of “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” after the SCDP gang has taken what they wanted and Allsion yell, “we’ve been robbed!” But in this case the person who’s been played in Don.

  19. Marie’s furniture napping seems like it was done more out of misplaced anger at Don for her own marriage with Megan’s father than anything else. I get that parents, even of adult children, hurt when their children hurt, but she got seriously carried away. And she certainly was doing Megan no favors, because now she has to figure out what to do with all of that furniture, put it in storage, get a bigger place, get rid of her LA furniture, etc. And it also could have precipitated a big battle with Megan and Don so she clearly wasn’t acting with her daughter’s best interest at heart. In the end the fact that, according to Megan’s sister,she planned to leave Professor Calvet, spoke volumes about where her emotions lay.

    I felt sad for Megan and also kept thinking “so much for not wanting anything from Don”. As others have said, I guess her anger had time to set in and stew a bit.

    • I also think that (unless it was just a plot device) Megan really didn’t need to come all that way to do any of that she just wanted to see Don one more time She didn’t sign the legal papers in the office, so they could have been sent to her. She only wanted 3 pieces of furniture, which she easily could have had Don supervise and told him to box up her clothes and records (they probably were all hers since Don isn’t a big music person) and that’s it. Don would have done it, he said anything she wanted and he’s usually pretty good about that sort of thing so he wouldn’t have messed up her things or sent them sloppily. She wanted to see him on some level because it did not require a cross-country trip (on his dime) to do that. Even though she said she didn’t plan to say anything in the lawyers office, she clearly didn’t come all that way to say nothing.

      • i agree with everything you’re saying…which i didn’t see when i was watching.. 🙂
        perhaps her intent wasn’t to see don at all; maybe she was motivated by a selfish desire to see if she could further her career with a luncheon with harry, and used the divorce, etc. as guise for trip.

        • She could have lunched with Harry in LALA. She wanted to see Don.

        • Or maybe just curiosity – maybe part of her wanted (and was hoping) to see that Don’s life had gone down the tubes, his place was in shambles and he put on weight.

      • I didn’t think of that, you’re right. I need to watch again. My first thought is that she wanted to say things that would hurt him, that was the whole reason for meeting in N.Y. She knew that she could alleviate her anger at the failure of the marriage, the failure of her career and as an unexpected bonus, the failure of the meeting with Harry by laying it all at his feet, and he would say nothing in his defense. She knows him well enough to know he wouldn’t argue or defend himself in any way. She simply wanted to hurt him. Btw, what happened to Anna’a ring? Did Don pick it up?

    • i read marie’s housecleaning as following Meghan’s directions…she left her mother and sister in the apartment with the instructions of “take whatever you want…” i think marie did just that…took everything she wanted so that she now will have furniture, etc. in her new apartment as she starts her new business of being single.

      • Well at first she said take whatever you want, but I think that was before Mom walked in the room and that was more to her sister about clothes but I could be wrong. Before sis stormed off (what a big help she was) Megan specifically mentioned a chest of drawers, a mirror and a chair. I think she mentioned one was from her grandmother. So, maybe Marie took it that way but was a big stretch and Megan was aghast when she walked into the empty apartment. I also assume that since they put it all in a truck it would go to the original destination, probably Megan’s CA pad, so if Marie wants it she’ll have to go to LA to get it.

        • The husband and I rewound the episode to clarify what Megan wanted. She said:

          “Just the boxes, the mirror, the chair, and Granny’s cabinet.” Megan wanted less than the contents of one room.

          As one of the daughters of a mercurial and resentful mother myself, I know this from years of experience: Do not ask Mom to act on your behalf. She does not know (or care) what “your behalf” is. She only knows her own.

          • Spot on!

            My Dad used to half-jokingly say that one’s mother-in-law provided a fairly accurate picture of one’s spouse, down the road. I’m not sure how true that is with Betty, since we never actually got to meet her and we only have Betty’s references about her. On the other hand, I can see where this notion might apply – at least to those in the “Megan is an opportunist” column.

            • Column?
              I’m not allowed to speak about ‘Megan’ here.
              A final thought.
              How fast will she blow through the million, and which one of the Monkees will she marry?
              Obtw; regarding she who can not be spoken about;
              I TOLD YOU SO.

  20. Megan got that million dollars ( a million dollars in 1970!) the old fashioned way–she earned it!
    There was no such thing as “no fault” divorce, then. Had they gone to court, Megan would have received that much or more.
    She was right on about everything she said about Don, and he is looking -well-seedy.

    • I also wondered if the Million was a sort of hush money. She knows all his secrets. If Don plays nice, she won’t damage his name and unveil his secret identity.

      • Trudy,

        I totally agree about it being hush money since Megan know Don is really DW. It seemed like a coded Kabuki between the two of them.

        The way I read situation is that Megan realized (after Harry’s pass) that she needed financial stability to stay in acting without getting roles regularly. Megan didn’t want to be blunt about her motivations (need money to support acting) and the fact that she was using blackmail (pay up or go to jail). So she played the victim while repeating that Don is a liar and his world is a lie. Don understood the code (Megan really saying that she’ll expose him if he doesn’t pay up, but she doesn’t want to look like the bad guy so she’s saying he’s ruined her life). So Don offers up one million and lets Megan still play the victim, so Megan gets both things she wants, the money and saving face. And Don gets what he wants, Megan out of his life and more importantly his secret of being DW safe.

        • I don’t see Megan blackmailing Don unless she knew she had cheated on him or something like that. She may have suspected that but didn’t have proof. Regardless of the fact they are getting divorced, I don’t see her being that malicious – that would be a whole new level of anger and the kind of thing you do after being married 20 years and being thrown over for 19 year old or something.

          • Marie’s comment “It’s a wonder you don’t have syphilis” meant that Megan knew Don was cheating on her since she told Maman about it.

            I don’t think Megan’s intent was malice, it was “need,” in that she needed money to support her acting career. The blackmail was just the route to get there. But she didn’t want to see herself as malicious, so she chose victim instead and Don went along with it.

          • I agree. She would’ve deployed that earlier in the divorce proceedings and it would have been over. And she would’ve had whatever she wanted.

            She even said on the phone ‘tell your lawyer he wins. I just want this resolved’

            OTOH, in the heat of the moment with Don in front of her she let that bomb out! Was it heat of the moment + lashing out + a bit manipulative? I think people, and Megan in particular can go along doing the right thing and then fail. I think she tried to be fair, but then wasn’t. But has Don always been fair with her? No he was really unfair to her many times. And he’s not always lived up to his own intentions. Either did Megan, here.

    • I totally agree with this! Megan was screwed when Don didn’t follow through with his promise and besides that he was not faithful to her. She deserves every penny, and SHE DIDN’T ASK FOR IT either. People keep talking about her petulance and bitchiness at the office but I think she had just had it, wanted the relationship resolved, and wanted some kind of compensation from him which was rightfully hers after all she had to put up with. He was an asshole of a husband, when you’re a rich asshole YOU PAY. That’s life in the big city.

    • Earned?????
      What is she, in Jimmy the Gent’s and Henry Hill’s crew?

  21. Diana is a metaphor I think. There was an instant connection between them; they “knew” each other in the diner in that very first encounter, without having said a word to each other. The connection is obvious, or at least I think it so: Don was abandoned by his mother, and Diana abandoned her children. Both grief stricken, for different reasons.

    I am pretty sure Weiner has either undergone psychoanalysis himself or is a student of it; one of the things taught in psychoanalytic training is that emotions are “contagious,” and we can often read others’ emotions instantly, and even know things about another person’s past from being in their presence alone, without any formal communication.

    I have been waiting for several seasons for Don’s psychology to play out in full, and I’m hopeful that in this season this will finally occur. Diana is a metaphor for the very nugget of Don’s problems – his infantile abandonment – and I think her character is a signal that Don is perhaps about to begin his ascent out of the dark depths of his unconscious past, and reconcile his past and present.

    • ….and I will add that I disagree with the suggestion that Don wishes or needs to “rescue” Diana.

      If Don is trying to rescue anyone, it is himself. But what is more accurate is that Don keeps living out his life trying to capture and feel the perfect, unconditional Mother love he never had. To some extent ALL of us are motivated by the same need, but children subjected to signficant abandonment trauma such as when losing a parent or being given up for adoption, etc., are often crippled by this need.

      There are many layers to Don and Diana I think, and certainly one of them is that they connect on the plane of grief. And one of the ways men show love for their mothers is by being protective, and so certainly Don probably feels protective of Diana as well and on some level does wish to save her or rescue her.

      But that is not the primary motivation, it’s a secondary thing. The most powerful feelings come from the earliest life experiences, and Don’s connection with Diana is a product of his infantile experience with his mother, and the infantile longings leftover from that trauma, I believe.

    • Maybe I’m a fool but I keep hoping for a moment when an explanation is dropped in our laps. Somewhere, Don (or Dick) really had known Diane.

      • Most at this site are “fools” – for various characters, for the whole show. The writers don’t explain very much – much like most loose ends in life are left unravelled. I would give heavy odds that Don’s “recognition” of Di was yearning/projection/metaphor/desire all rolled into one feeling – nothing so straight-forward as really knowing her.

        • Like the explanation of the lost night of Don and Private Dinkins in Hawaii, or of the ‘heart attack’ that was the opening shot of S6.
          Zero explanations.
          MW loves that.

    • It’s weird – I actually saw it as simpler – Don is in a death spiral of looking for less and less challenging companionship. Maybe Don really fell in love with the idea of being with someone straightforward like a waitress, but one who at least had some sheen of intellect, unlike that one he ended up with after a drunken night in the Village.

  22. We know that Don only likes the beginning of things but Pete is worried that he’ll never advance beyond the beginning of things. Starting over is not that easy and Pete senses that there is no guarantee that he’ll get right next time. Stan is afraid that he already past his high point artistically “Everything good I have is from a long time ago.” That could have been on Don’s mind too as he walks away from the Norman Rockwell milkshake scene.

    Stan also claims that he wants honesty but he can’t seem to deal with Peggy’s accurate assessment of the hustler Pima. Apologies to Jack Nicholson but can we really handle the truth? For once Don is on the receiving end of a lover’s lies about her background – but maybe lies are justified when they hold deep pain at bay – something Don knows a lot about. In the end Diana chooses pain over running away and denial perhaps knowing that that the more painful path is usually the one that will get you past the beginning and allow you to grow out of the hopeless loop Pete fears so much.

    Pima is more advertising than art and even art is ultimately about sales. You gotta be hustling and selling if you’re gonna make it. Creepy Harry says as much to Megan. Marie tells Rodger to take advantage of her (and of course he does but “it was her idea!”) Just about everybody wants to take advantage of everybody else with payment in cash or sex. Harry tries with Megan, Pima tries with Peggy (succeeding with Stan who in turn takes advantage of his overdeveloped girlfriend). Don tracks down Diana with the expertise of a private “dick” and Don in turn gets taken to the cleaners by both Megan and her mother.

    Not my favorite episode but even the weaker ones deliver a lot.

  23. I think Diana is Dons soul mate.

  24. ​I was confused by the episode too but I was struck on how different Don was from the start of the 7.1 to this entire episode. It is almost as if, the façade of Don Draper (wealthy professional man, etc.) was gradually being shed and being replaced by the real Dick Whitman:
    He pursues a waitress who is closer in financial status to Dick Whitman;
    He talks about moving out of his swanky apartment and implied he wanted something less glitzy/showy;
    He is 1 million dollars lighter;
    He is uncomfortable with the playing squash comment and reference to Diana being a waitress that Arnold makes;
    He talks openly about his children and his divorce and did not lie to Diana nor was he drinking much.

    He seemed to be completely open to her and not trying impress; only one lost soul trying to save another and not pretending to be anything different.

    I also saw many examples of loss and abandonment in the first two eps of season 7.2, both materially and emotionally. Don, Rachel, Rachel’s kids, and Diana’s daughter all lost their mother at an early age. Diana lost her younger child. Don clearly is thinking about the loss of both of his marriages and showed much sadness in Betty’s kitchen before he left the Francis house. He loses his furniture and abandons a great sum of money. Meghan loses her career and somehow her family feel that they have lost eachother because of Don. All of them individually feel lost.

    I think the quote of the show belongs to Harry where he says to Don that Megan made a huge mistake leaving the soap opera and moving. I think this line is what changed Don’s attitude toward Megan and made him do exactly what Roger warned him not to do.

    Surprise of the episode is that Roger now has 3 phones. I guess he is finally working!

  25. Was Megan insulted when Harry compared her to Ali McGraw? (who was know for a crooked front tooth)? See #5 in this gallery:

  26. Diana reminds me of the Piper Laurie character in The Hustler. The scenes with Diana remind me a lot of that film. Don is roughly same same age as Paul Newman which means he is a decade older than Newman was when that film was released.

  27. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $1,000,000 in 1970, would have the buying power of $6,049,536.08 in 2015.

    • Or exactly 65 shopping sprees for ‘Megan’.

      • Megan is kinda like the early 1980s Lisa computer from Apple. Horrendously expensive and she never really caught on.

        • All computers at that time were horrendously expensive. And if Lisa never caught on, you wouldn’t be writing your comment on your iPhone.

  28. There was not one scene with Don and Peggy in the last two episodes. After the “magic” of The Strategy and Waterloo, and the wonderful interactions between the two, it’s kind of disappointing and I was hoping for some continuation or follow up.

    I’m just hoping that “New Business” is a set up episode that will help prepare for something really great in the remaining shows.

    With so little time left it was frustrating to waste so much screen time on so many new characters that we are not emotionally invested in when there is still so much to resolve with the ones we do care about.

    I guess Di represents someone that would appeal to and understand Dick Whitman. When he said he knew her, maybe it was because she reminded him of the people he knew growing up. In fact, the visit to her run down apartment was kind of a call back to his visit to Adam’s apartment/room back in season 1.

    I have become used to two kinds of Mad Men shows–great and incredible and New Business does not fall into either of those categories. . The bar has been set quite high and this episode was a let down. After 7 seasons of consistently great shows I’m going to trust that this will all payoff if we hang in. I not ready for a divorce quite yet but I am expecting a million dollar payoff on May 17th.

  29. What happened to the computer? Is it gone?

    • I think it might still be there. But it was hard to tell. In the scene when Peggy tells Stan about Pima a Ryan-there is a brief glance of the area where the computer would be.

  30. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of viewing Mad Men. I cut the cable so I have to wait a day to watch. I like to watch twice before I come here and I like to write my impressions before I go read any other analysis on the web, except those here in the basket.

    Last week was the first time I ever, ever could not watch a Mad Men twice.

    It was powerful.it destroyed me. But for the first time ever it annoyed me. I hated to admit that.

    So this episode was a great relief to me.

    I thought the opening scene in Betty’s kitchen was a dream! And I was trying to figure out if it was Betty’s or Don’s!

    I am also getting tired of what once delighted me: the call backs. There are just too damn many. I no longer thrill at how Diana’s phone call mirrors Suzanne’s as well as Don’s phone call to Megan just before he goes home and dream kills Madchek Aimee.

    And on and on.

    This is the first negative thing I’ve ever said about Mad Men and I feel bad. It is bringing up my unspoken questions about whether season six story line was worth it for that last look between Don and Sally.

    In many ways it was already earned.

    Megan said at the table in the lawyers office “I don’t know why I’m being punished.” That’s how I feel. Punished. Punished for loving this show.

    He even has Betty say in the opening scene ‘ oh and you couldnt let them go without a dessert’ or something like that…

    I don’t expect roses or pay-offs (is the million dollar check directed at us for wanting too many pay offs in this show?)

    Is the despair of art vs commerce about us? Is MW telling us fuck off. It’s just a commercial transaction? You knew that going in. Why did you want more from me?

    We get it, about Don. We really really do. Do we really need more rubbing of our noses in it?

    Mrs Blankenship says in s4: ‘this is a business of sadists and masochists and you know which one you are’

    Well I guess I’m a masochist.

    But I hope this is a momentary feeling and that I get past it!

    • I am considering cutting the cord but specifically decided to wait until AFTER Mad Men was over to seriously pursue it because I did not want to mess around with seeing it. Sorry you disliked the episode so. Hopefully the rest will resonate more with you.

      • Well I liked this one better than the last one ha!

      • Also, I think for the last three seasons I’ve been waiting for more time away from Don. I misss episodes like Shoot, Three Sundays, and even The Golden Violin. It feels like the ratio has been off. Too much Don.

  31. I can only echo what others have said – there are a very limited number of episodes and this one – with the Megan storyline (and a lot of us never liked that character nor did I find Don marrying her believable) AND the Pima storyline (why was this necessary) really leaves us with fewer episodes for many other important characters.

    It feels muddled and odd and meandering.

    Hoping for better next week.

  32. So what do we think — does the loss of $1million hurt Don? He has been well-paid for years, even when he was on leave, he likely paid cash for his place, with only a few notable examples of largesse (checks to Midge, dating expenses..etc) doesn’t seem to spend his money extravagantly, I’m guessing this is maybe half of what he has liquid.

    As for Meghan – I’m guessing she will blow it. I don’t see her getting good financial advice and investing it. I see it being whittled away as she continues to pursue a non-existent acting career but finding it hard to deny herself things.

    • Tough question. MW has talked in the past how NYC went from being king of the universe to bankrupt by 1975…Don has always in many ways represented America, and maybe in some ways the dream of NEw York, and we have a lot of economic upheaval ahead in the 70s… I don’t know!

    • I also don’t see Megan seeking out a financial advisor or someone to provide sound investment counseling. After all, her father is a socialist or communist, so her upbringing likely left her with issues or hang ups surrounding personal wealth. Somewhere down the road, she’ll end up being as guilty about having money as Don’s upbringing made him feel inferior or insecure, over not having money.

      • Megan’s upbringing was upper middle class.

        She did not come from a poor background like Don’s, her background was much more like Betty’s. Yes, her father was a professor in one of Montreal’s univerisities–likely the ivy league one, McGill. Quebec went through a massive upheaval not long before the 60’s socially and politically, where the Roman Catholic Church’s long held stronghold over the province’s economy and laws was finally forced free by people who wanted to set up a government that was more likely to provide them with a more fair and democratic representation. Socialism was behind that, yes. It is not the demon that many in the US think it is, it actually created a much more fair and egalitarian society and allowed Montreal to grow as a city in both wealth and influence, so that many people benefitted financially from the changes they made. At the time of MM, Montreal was Canada’s largest, cosmopolitan, and economically most powerful city. People like her parents were highly respected, monied, and influential. It’s highly unlikely to think that a girl raised in that environment would have any aspirations of a life in the arts if she didn’t come from a secure and privileged economic background; and even less likely that she’d be able to make a move from Montreal to New York in order to pursue her dreams. Unless she’s suffering from complete amnesia, there’s no reason to believe Megan wouldn’t know how to handle money.

    • Deborah has done the math on this before. When Joan was made partner, she got a 5% stake – proportionally from Don/Bert/Roger’s 25% each (and Pete/Layne’s 1/8 each).

      Joan’s long-term share on the McCann deal was “slightly over 1.5-million” (presuming Weiner repsected the math enough to get that right). So Don’s long-term share approached $8-million.

      The “signing bonus” – which was probably only an advance – a subtraction from the 8-six-aught – was in itself more than a cool million (unless Don was keeping below that top marginal Fed Income Tax bracket – like Pete).

      Of course “hurt” has many connotations.

  33. Liked the shout out to Picasso’s “Guernica.”

    I’ve noted before the similarities between the “weeping woman” of “Guernica” and Midge’s painting “Afterimage/#4.”



    Also, the weeping women is about the loss of a child, similar to Diana.

  34. So now we know why Don thought he’d met Diana before. He said she reminds him of someone, and he’s right. She reminds him of himself. Same hard-scrabble background, same penchant for running. They both left everything behind and took off for New York to start over.

    Harry said two important things to Don before the meeting at the lawyer’s office. He said Megan was desperate for a job. And he said that it was a “really dumb idea” for her to quit her soap and leave New York. I think the $1 million payoff was meant to do one of two things. Either Don was trying to keep Megan from resorting to the casting couch because he does still care about her to some degree. Or he was trying to relieve his guilt for being the impetus behind that “really dumb idea” of quitting the soap and leaving New York. Or a little of both.

  35. Megan isn’t a character. That has always been her problem. I don’t hate her. I just think she’s whatever the writers find convenient for that week. If they need Unbalanced Megan, Sensible Megan, Victimized Megan, or Something Else Megan that week, that’s what we get. She’s unbelievably random, and her backstory is total gobbledygook. (Yes, they based it partly on Jessica Pare’s own background, but Pare was born 40 years later than her character! Things were different then!) They could get away with sketchy characterizations for some of Don’s mistresses because we didn’t see much of them, but she was the lead character’s wife for three years, and yet I feel like I know frigging Pima Ryan better than I know her.

    Also: where the hell is Jim Cutler? He was the best adversary the show ever had.

    Also: is Gene ever going to have any frigging dialogue? He’s seven years old, either have him say something or tell us why he has no speech!

    • I know. “Baby” Gene is older than Sally was in season one.

    • Cutler was paid off in the buy-out and then sent away. He wasn’t crucial to the deal, and Roger wanted him gone so he was done as soon as he raised his hand to vote on the deal.

  36. Small typo: Linda Cardellini, not Cardinelli

  37. I had a thought last night.

    Pima Ryan is the return of Sal (stick with me here)

    I was thinking about my previous predictions that if we ever see Sal again, he’d be an art or fashion photographer and it would be later in the series. (Because I felt after leaving SC the one profession for him where he could be gay and excel was likely art or fashion photography)

    So when Pima showed up, I was like gah, now we won’t likely see Sal!

    Then I realized, she is kind of the inverse of Sal. She owns her sexuality, and her scenes with Stan and Peggy were kind of inverse of Sal’s experiences. Sal was hit on in the film editing room and Stan in dark room.

    Stan goes for it, but Pima loses out on future employment because of her hustling.

    Pima holds Peggy’s face similarly to how the Belle Jolie guy held the sambuco glass at the restaurant.

    Hell, Pima Even dressed like Sal!

    I tried to look it up on Imdb, but they didn’t have her first name. But it began with an S. Was it Samantha? SR like Sal. Even the syllables are similar.

    Samantha Pima Ryan Salvatore Romano. Sal Romano/Pima Ryan…

    Anyway, this what I thought as I was falling asleep last night.

    • Peggy Oh!

      The Sal/Pima connection is absolutely brilliant!

    • Count me as another viewer who still wants the Sal situation resolved. I even want to see the guy who wronged him, Lee Garner Jr (Darren Pettie), make a return, if only to get his comeuppance.

      But I did not see a Sal/Pima connection. I’m not fully convinced that Pima’s sexual overtures were entirely for business purposes. I’ve known artists with that sort of omnivorous sexuality. While her tangoes with Stan and then Peggy might have seemed to be an unnecessary intrusion as we all wait to see more of our old favorite characters, I think the Pima episode settled something important between Stan and Peggy.

      Of course, Stan has seemed like a zero from day one, we already really knew that he was flaky cheeseball. But the Peggy story goes forward, no?

      • “Stan has seemed like a zero from day one”

        I’d rewrite that” “Stan was a zero ON day one, until Peggy disciplined him.”

        “we already really knew that he was flaky cheeseball.”

        I’m not so sure of that – any examples?

        A flaky cheesball woudn’t buck Peggy up on Saturday afternoon and say”do you need me to come in?” (The Strategy).

      • Here’s a picture of Sal and Pima


        So opposite. Pima is fully in charge of her work and sexual self. Sal was flexible and aiming to please with his art, would never challenge Dons choice where Pima challenges Peggy’s. And definitely lacked confidence in his sexuality.

        He was sweet. Pima was very direct.

        Sal also has the streak of grey, but on both sides, on his sideburns.

    • Also, w/the Sal/Pima connection, it seemed strange that Cinzano would be linked to a photo shoot since their most famous ads are art deco posters, more along the lines of what Sal would draw.

      This one reminds me of “Midsummer’s Night Dream.”


      And there’s this one.


      • Oh I missed your comment! I must have forgotten to check the email alert box!

        These are great links! Yes Sal loved to imitate rather than innovate, like Pima. I notice Pan in the first ad, and both Pima and Sal’s sexuality have been a big part of their stories.

  38. Great post Deb! With the returning mistresses, it may be a warped version of a carousel. In that each mistress may be a different horse, but Don keeps going in circles, so it doesn’t matter which horse/mistress. They’re all interchangeable since the pattern is the same, so the all start looking alike.

    • This talk of horses made me think of the visit by Roger’s old flame, who was having trouble with her dog food company and its main ingredient – horsemeat.

      Don suggested that she change the name on the label, which pretty much turns out to be his approach with women: When in doubt, change the name on the label.

      • SmilerG,

        Awesome insight! Another angle would be the relationships are the same (dysfunctional), just change the women (packaging).

        • Maybe we’ll get to hear the song “ain’t that a kick in the head” at some point!

      • Don’t forget Don is an expenive (? Forgo pot that part of the quote) piece of horse flesh!

        Oh and his dad was killed by a kick in the head from a horse!

  39. It was interesting the way they contrasted Don’s relationships with each of his ex wives, Betty and Megan. The opposite of love is not hate it is indifference. You have to really care about someone to get really mad at them. Betty doesn’t care anymore Megan still does. I found the scene in Betty;s kitchen with the kids more sad than the scenes with Megan. There was a shot of the 4 of them, kind of like the first “happy” season (switching Sally for Gene) and then Henry walks in and Bobby wants Henry to have a milkshake (cares about him) and suddenly Don is an outsider in his own family and he is replaced by Henry. Kind of like when Trudy told Pete “You’re not in this family anymore.” It’s all his fault and he knows it which actually makes it even more tragic.

    When Don puts on a suit for his guest at 3 am its proof that he’s still dressing for a par/pretending and still not real. Dick Whitman has to dress like Don. He’s dressing like the people he saw in the magazines about New York when he was growing up poor in the whorehouse.

    When Diana says about Don’s terrace, “You must sit out there all the time.” it was a call back to the first episode of season 7 when Don was sitting out on the terrace cold and crying, an outsider.

    By the way, does Don actually do any work anymore? He’s in and out of the office whenever he gets around to it, 11:30, but what is he doing? He doesn’t even remember he has a golf/meeting. Is he working on any accounts? He doesn’t seem to care the way season 1 Don cared. Peggy is more like season 1 Don who really cared about the work. She’s the only one in the episode who is actually working (besides Meredith!).

    The million dollars was payback because she stupidly quit her soap and left New York because of him. That’s his way of making it up to her. Also he wanted to quickly get rid of Megan so he can go right into another relationship with Diana to “fix” everything.by jumping int another relationship with someone he doesn’t know.

    Don and Diana both have painful pasts but completely opposite ways of dealing with it. Diana never wants to forget her past and Don’s approach is “this never happened.” Maybe her example will help Don to finally embrace his past and hold onto it like Diana who is miserable but real and so has a chance to get better..

  40. In the “Severance” thread I’d posted about the episode similarities to “What Dreams May Come,” in that Rachel could be Chris and Don could be Annie. Also, Don is trapped in Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Betty’s fur ad. and in Midge’s painting.

    In “New Business,” Don could be Chris and Diana could be Annie, in how Don tries to get Diana out of her self created underworld. Also, in order to find Annie, Chris uses a “tracker,” which could be the diner owner Nicholas Constantinopolis. And in the film version of WDMC, Annie has lost both of her children.

    Interestingly, “Nicholas” is the name of the store across the street from Don in the S5 poster.


    Also, the trench coat and suit combo Don wears to meet Diana in her apartment is similar to the outfit Robin William wears in WDMC.


  41. Perhaps the disjointed, dreamlike nature of S 7.2 thus far could be because it’s based on the “film” Don watched in “The Benefactor.

    In the original S7 poster, Don is viewing a poster the same way he’s viewing the film in “The Benefactor,” except the opposite arm is draped over the seats.



    There was a discussion on BoK about what film it was, and Deb and Roberta quoted MW saying,

    “It’s a very rare French film. A film by a famous director. I won’t tell you the name. I won’t say the title. I’ll never tell. Because I don’t have the rights to it.”

    I’ve assumed from the quote that MW didn’t actually show the film because he didn’t have the rights. But instead created a montage which conveyed the essence of the film and added the voiceover of “Ballade Des Dames Du Temps Jadis,” which speaks of women from the past. I assumed MW was emulating “Last Year at Marienbad,” a surrealist film in which a man tries to convince a woman that they have met before.

    I didn’t think much about it until I watched the first two episodes of S 7.2. In “Severance,” the way Don keeps on asking if he’s met Diana before is similar to how the man in LYaM tells the woman they’ve met before. Also, with Rachel Menken “returning,” it could be a reference to “Ballade Des Dames Du Temps Jadis.” And then there was the whole surreal nature of the episode, like the nature of the film.

    In “New Business,” again we meet a woman from Don’s past, Sylvia. And then there’ the prominence of French in the episode. And the return of Diana. Let’s see what happens in episode 3.

    Also, I’ve been wondering if S 7.2 is partially based on “What Dreams May Come,” which is based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Interestingly, Wikipedia says of “Last Year at Marienbad,”

    “Numerous explanations of the ‘story’ have been put forward: that it is a version of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth.”

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